Simple, but Hardstyle

I briefly scratched the surface of some of the more recent Hardstyle releases through both my inbox and YouTube today. That allowed me to find two releases I’d like to mention here: One from D-Block and S-te-fan, and the other from Da Tweekaz and Neilio. The reviews of these tracks will be combined into one post for two reasons: One, because both are considered to be melodic tracks; Two, both of them still manage to make decent tracks just by keeping things simple, which is something I think any budding producer should learn how to master.

Let’s begin with D-Block and S-te-fan’s ‘Higher’. Personally, I felt as if the introduction built up to the climax more slowly than the other Hardstyle tracks I’ve heard. However, this also allowed for any variations that followed to stand out. Specifically, when the low-pitched vocals said “let the music take you higher”, snippets of the ‘er’ syllable get repeated, then tuned into notes that form a melody, merging itself into the rest of the composition. This was followed by alternations between chord notes and notes of the main melody. Very blissful indeed. Unfortunately, the biggest weakness of this release is repetitive lyrics. Catchy and addictive, but repetitive. I would have loved to loop this more if there were better lyrics.

The next track by Da Tweekaz and Neilio, titled ‘Freedom’, is an attempt to make something that Hardstyle lovers can dance to gloriously. I used the word “attempt”, because although I did enjoy the melody, I felt as if the words carry a lot of weight. Those lyrics may be more suited to something rougher or tougher, like Ran-D’s Defqon.1 2015 anthem. However, I didn’t find it difficult to let that slide, because if anything, this track can still make people feel something on the dance floor: It’ll make people want to celebrate. The octaves in the kick-chord-kick-chord alternations sounded like a carnival theme. Combined with a twinkling melody and synth twists, you can’t help but imagine colourful lights flying past your eyes.

If you’re a producer looking for some introduction to the very core of what makes Hardstyle work, but don’t want to dive into the depths of ancient history, these new tracks are certainly worth looking into. ‘Higher’ has been released through Scantraxx Records and ‘Freedom’ from the Dirty Workz label.


Neilio ft. Ohwin – Wish I Never Met You

Neilio - WINMY EP

Published on Beatsmedia 22/11/2013:

Allow the piano notes to soothe your soul before kicks take you into an explosion of ecstasy. ‘Wish I Never Met You’ is an emotional track that will mend the hearts of heartbroken folk before it blasts the pain away.

In the build-up, all elements sound balanced despite their variance in pitch, especially when the amplifier overdrive tones and vocals co-exist. This is followed by two surprising elements: The solo of the mild chorus melody, and the kicks that sound like they’re floating slightly above it momentarily. Most Hardstyle tracks tend to demand some sort of furious hit or clap right before the kicks come in, and then get right into the deep bass. The track’s gradual dive into deepness can be very pleasurable, especially when accompanied by bittersweet lyrics.

However, there is one odd downside to the track, and that is the sudden elevation to a higher key towards the end of the preview. To make a more specific point, the vocals were excessively modified, even though it would have sounded just fine naturally.

Nonetheless, overall, ‘Wish I Never Met You’ manages to achieve a good balance between delivering expectations and introducing innovation.

The track has been released in the WINMY EP through Dirty Workz on Beatport.

Balance 7/10
Melody 7/10
Lyrics 8/10
Kicks 8/10
Overall Rating 7.5/10